Thursday, July 31, 2014

A while.

It's been a while hasn't it? While I've been away, I have been writing down every day moments for my daily thankfuls.  You know... those little daily happenings that bring on a burst of heart joy, followed by thankfulness?  Here are some of my thankful/joy list moments from the summer, so far....
 Laughing with Alli, my life long bestie at the roller rink and watching our children build sweet relationships and knowing that if they have even a fraction of what we have, they will be friends indefinitely.

That gorgeous photo of Ava in the bushes with a floppy hat and white dress on and the unexpected giggles of getting all wet as we splashed out into the lake for that perfect shot and then laughing and laughing as we drove home soaking wet to the burst of gorgeous colors in the sky as the sun set.

Taking half the summer to slowly put together a cozy little nook area in my master bedroom.

Getting a spray tan.

A job well done and feeling tired but happy at the end of a day.

Creme brulee body lotion that makes my husband comment every night, that I smell amazing.

Forgiveness from my family after that night that I had the shortest fuse and sent everyone to bed at 7pm, including myself.
 Bursting into laughter at the dinner table over something Joe said that I honestly would probably have been irritated by normally, and watching it explode the whole group into laughter.  And the reminder of what a merry heart can do and how I set the emotional tone in my family, as the mama.

That day Joe made me laugh when he made up a song on his guitar about trying to get that girl to quit texting him. 

Nurse Nicki having a deep talk with me in the moment because we both really needed to pour our hearts out to someone. 

Going for that run with Ava and her patience with my very out of shape self.

Feeling stronger.

That time I was supposed to be packing for our long weekend away but instead I decided to paint our very real life, messy armoire with leftover Miss Mustard Seed milk paint and how it made the whole room smile with a fresh look.
The night my man got home from work and I had just had it.  It was hot and sweaty day, I'd come home after work to itty bitty styrofoam pieces everywhere (counter tops, floors, etc.) after my kids had scratched their names and other things all over the styrofoam casings of our new schoolhouse pendant lighting, and I was struggling emotionally with a relationship on top of all that.  He picked up the light as dinner was just starting to get underway and started taking off the old fixture.  I stared at him and asked, "Are you installing the new light... right now?"  He said, "Yeah, why not?" and I cried.  Small thing... but such a BIG thing for my heart since I didn't even have to ask him and had just figured that I'd have to work on it at some point that week. 

Denim slipcovers.

Watching how tender both Joe and Ava are with their younger cousins and how sweetly they offer piggy back rides, patiently build things with legos and be the very picture of gentle love.

How Joe took responsibility for mowing our neighbor's yard this summer.

Deep talks about responsibility with my kids and seeing how they are maturing. 

Ava, bringing home a book for me from the neighborhood borrow-a-book box.
 Going to sleep with the hum of fans.

Fresh flowers from my cutting garden and harvesting all kind of yummy things like beans and tomatoes.

An unexpectedly delightful Pride and Prejudice adaptation.

Furry rugs and soft pillows. 

Talking to Becky even though she was sick and getting caught up.

Finding two floral mugs for tea time.

Time on the front porch to rock in the rocker and sip my mama's iced tea recipe.
 My fiddle leaf fig surviving a transplant and sprouting new leaves.

Saying no to things and feeling intense freedom.

Getting to freshen sheets and bedding for overnight guests and that my man cut hydrangeas from our yard and shook out all the spiders for me so I could fill a jug with them to greet our guests. 

My kids, taking turns to come up with and then prepare dinner.

A cobalt blue swim suit with a ruffle at the bottom, on sale.

A long talk with Betsy, at the end of a dock with feet swirling in lake water and kiddos jumping in non-stop, splashing us the whole time.

Text messages during working hours from my husband because he knows how much that means to me.

Girl talk with my daughter.
 My son's hair.

Spontaneous time spent at my brother's house as we headed home from vacation and helping Holli redecorate her house in our heads.  Visiting way longer than we planned and leaving reluctantly.  Watching my son admire my brother and squishing my niece in one last hug... and how long it takes us to get off the front porch because that's when we seem to have the best conversations.  

Nice repair men who do the job well and are kind to my children.

Evening walks with my daughter, and holding hands or linking arms. 

Drop in visitors.

Waiting in line for a Pina Colada slushie and laughing and making friends with perfect strangers in front of us. 

Otter pops in the fingers of my children's hands.
Cool evenings to water the flowers and marvel at the beauty.

Plans.

The smell of clean sheets, freshly laundered.

Coconut scented shampoo and lotion.

My sister in law Char, dropping in because she just needed to talk.  Getting to be there for her in her current season.

Art work sales from my shop.

Watching the pure joy on my children's faces as they got off the roller coaster and laughing at what a chicken I am. 

Going tandem on the big waterslides.

Coming home.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The delicate in-between


A few days ago, in the lingering heat of the summer, with the final rays of warm, pink sunshine stretching sideways over the horizon, I took my Ava girl down to the lake and we had a sweet little photoshoot.  Then I went crazy with Photoshop and the beauty Ava created in my camera... Then I cried my eyes out. 

Okay I didn't... but I almost did.  She's so NOT A BABY anymore!  As I scrolled through my camera I was blown away by how much she is changing and I am not anywhere near ready for it.

This stage paralyzes my heart at times. Then I cheer wildly the next moment because this was the whole point... watching them grow and become independent little people.

And that my friends, is where I walk a very delicate parental balance... this in-between the places of childhood and adult.

The other day this occurred to me- I don't remember the very last time that I swung one of my kids up onto my hip.  How did I miss it?  How did I not know in that moment, that it was the very last time I would do that?  How would I have savored it, had I known...  And I won't know the moment when it will be the last time I will hold them on my lap and cuddle them.  (So far my son still tries to make himself very small and do this- don't tell him that I told you.) I mentioned these thoughts to Adrain and he agreed saying that just the other day he held Ava's hand walking into the grocery store and he wondered when the last time he would hold the hand of our kids crossing a road... Oh it's so bittersweet this growing up thing!! 






 Ever my little ballerina....




 I know the boat ramp was behind us and it's ugly... but I couldn't resist the angle.  And I have never claimed to be a professional. Ha!
 We giggled and laughed and chased the sun out into the lake as it sank behind the tree tops.  We got wet and made some fun mama-daughter memories.  This is one of my favorites.  I think I want to get one of these blown up as a canvas for above my guest bed... which one would you choose?

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fun embroidery floss earring DIY

Do you have a boring pair of hoop earrings that are just itching for a quick, inexpensive summer makeover? 

Yeah. Me too.

Today I am sharing the cutest little summer afternoon DIY with you! I wrapped a pair of silver hoop earrings in some bright shades of embroidery floss and created a new look using items I had on hand.  If you don't have embroidery floss on hand, you can pick a few packs of them up at the craft store for under a dollar total!  The other item I used was Jewel-it glue.  (Also from the craft store.) I used it to secure loose ends as I tucked them under and wrapped floss over the top of them, and then I coated the entire earring in it once finished, to make sure nothing slipped and unraveled. 

This entire project took me about twenty minutes.

Begin by choosing a few colors you like.  I wanted a color blocked pattern in some bright colors so I ended up choosing gold, cobalt blue and fuchsia. 
 Find your starting place with the first color and secure with a small, tight knot.  I simply tucked this loose end under as I began to wrap the floss around the hoop and once I had all of the gold wrapped around I tied it off on the opposite side.  After snipping the tail, I dabbed on some jewel-it glue to secure it and repeated the process with my next color.

Once finished I had a final loose end.  I used jewel-it glue to coat it and wrap it around and around, then I coated the entire earring with it for extra stability. 

They turned out so cute- definitely not perfect and you cant tell which one I did first, because the second one turned out much better. 

They give a fun shot of dangling color to my ear lobes and I love them, imperfections and all! 
Have you got any earrings in need of a makeover?
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Bless my SOUL.

You guys. My heart is bursting over here!!

Firstly. I've eliminated a huge boat load of obligations from my schedule and I'm telling you...if you're bogged down, just slide on into a season of NO with me.  It's freeing.  I have said no to things I LOVED... but things you love can still weigh you down and make your schedule impossible. Lighten that load... say NO.  {If only for a season.}

Secondly. Speaking of seasons... Last night while chewing on dinner that my kids collaborated on making (jumping up and down for joy over this stage of life) I began to list off to Adrain, all the ways God has come through for us recently.  It's been a domino effect of goodness.  Some have been silly things while others have been things that would have broken us three months ago... like a busted glass sliding door.. under warranty, no charge to us to replace when we were panicking and thinking $1000.  A lost kid cell, happened to be upgrade time and replacing it was free to us, not to mention an awesome free upgrade for me when I wasn't even thinking about it!  A few gallons of paint found in the mis-tinted pile that we were able to get re-tinted into the exact color we wanted to paint our house...(stay tuned on that!) the broken down car situation... I can't even speak of that blessing without melting into a puddle of grateful tears.  My hubby's job has been blessing him right and left... which in turn blesses me.  I want him to be as happy in his job as I am in mine!!  I listed a few more things on a personal level but our conversation went on and on, counting blessings that make our eyes water with grateful tears.

The point... God is GOOD and I was right to believe that He would rescue us.  He hasn't always rescued us in ways we thought He would.  Most times it wasn't anything like we thought.  But He didn't ever leave us high and dry over these past four years, and my faith has surged with this last round of tide turning. Two years ago we felt like we were in a season of loss... and I clung to the belief that seasons don't last forever.  They will change and God is faithful.  I've been digging into Beth Moore's A heart like His book.  And wow.  Filling my journal daily.

Thirdly. And having nothing to do with anything I've previously said.  Skillet cookie.  You must go out and make this recipe!  It's the best.  (I substituted cup for cup gf flour in mine.) I used a small cast iron skillet (fed four of us generously) and it made enough for two, so I froze the other half of the dough in a flat round, and it's perfect for impromptu company.

And I like that.

"Blessed Be Your Name In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out  I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord"
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Best...

This 4th of July was our very favorite to date!  I don't know if it's because my kids are growing up and they can be so much fun to be around when they are in good spirits (and not fighting or swinging from hormones) or if it was the relaxed fun we participated in, or the fact that we ended up in one of my very favorite places on God's green earth... but no matter the reason- it was delightful and I wanted to share a few photos of our fun day with you.

We started the day ending swim lessons and Adrain had the day off so he was able to come and see how much our kiddos have learned.  Then we had a picnic lunch and headed to the Ocean to meet up with one of my sis in laws and her little girl.  We checked out an antique car show, some street vendors and live music. 

After saying good bye, my family moseyed over to my favorite get away spot, where a big salmon BBQ was happening along with live music (with a teacher Joe knew) face painting, cotton candy, balloon making fairies and the like.  (In fact I asked one of the balloon making girls "When she learned how to do that" and she replied (in all seriousness) "Oh all fairies are born with the ability to make balloon animals..." I kid you not, that made my entire day.  Right there. I giggled with Adrain over that something terrible.) (Also I think she made Joe's day when she agreed to make him a pair of swords. (Let's just ignore that he is, in fact, a teenager- yet was still standing in line for the balloon artist-fairy-girl)  
 



 Isn't he looking like a teenager? It's crazy... I have a teenager.  I can't quite wrap my mind around that until I see photos of him looking like this!






 




We walked along the beach, skipped rocks, played badminton, watched a wedding rehearsal, had dinner, enjoyed the tide coming in, and spotted a huge bald eagle in a nearby tree.  Even both kids said that it was their favorite 4th of July so far... and that blesses my heart to it's depths!

How was your 4th?
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Havens, Boy Rooms, Courage and Chicken Salad. The End.


Hi Dear friends!

Doesn't it feel like our chats are few and far between lately?  I'm still settling into the groove of Summer, not to mention having my new part time job so when I had this week mostly "off" to do swim lessons with my kiddos I brought my camera along and got reacquainted with it.

Being on Summer break and having the hoodlums around has caused me to think about homes being our havens.  How I want our home to be a haven- and what that means.  My main goal is always welcoming others in and making my family feel soothed and restful, but I've also been carving our my own little haven for sipping iced tea and chatting with my man or anyone else who wanders into it, each evening. It's my front porch. I don't know why I have never used it much- probably because it's narrow and kind of an awkward space.  I potted some plants in an inexpensive planter (which I spray painted with a color I had on hand) and also in a hanging basket.  I put out some pillows stolen from the backyard, along with a camp blanket and moved an inside chalkboard and metal stool outside.  I love it! 


 And that's my mama's iced tea recipe- the one I cut my teeth on.  (2 bags "Lipton" and 4 bags "Constant Comment."  She used to make hers in a milk gallon and set it in the sun to brew.  I use the cold water brew and do it in the fridge but it still tastes like home to me.)
 Now.  My boys' room has a been a bone of contention with me for some time.  He is the hoarder in the family. Ha!  I finally convinced him to let me help him lighten his load and transition it from little kid toy-hoard-land to teenage room that speaks about WHO he is.

He loved it!  I used some of the techniques we use at my new organizing job- a bin for donations, trash, and items for him to sort and it worked like a charm!  All of his Lego creations are on the shelves in his closet rather than all over his floor.  Much safer because when they get stepped on, it's like the sky is falling.  They are his prized possessions! (And for good reason too- this kid is a Lego wiz!)
 We made him a music wall- though he plays upright bass at school in the orchestra and we don't have one of those expensive babies... yet.  I keep hunting Craig's list for a used one.  Still, this represents JOE very well.


 The gorgeous sign that hangs in his room came from my good friend Tara, over here.

 And let's talk for a minute about his bookshelf.  I might have a bit of a love for bookshelf organizing and styling... and making books flow in a color pattern... see below...
 See?  The one in my bedroom....
 And the shelf in our little cozy bedroom nook area.  (More on the progress of that space soon.)  I just love books.  Adrain scored a set of antique volumes at an estate sale last weekend and I'm working on a shelf/display for that in my head.  Can't wait to make that a reality as well!
Here are some of our swim lesson pics.  Some of them were beautiful and some were inspiring. This kid's eyes blow my mind.

He is so fearless. 
 This one needed to work up her courage just a bit.  First dive of the season... in the rain!  She stood there with her toes curling over the edge, shoulders curved in nervous giggles...  Made me think about how often I do this.  Stand before a big jump in life, drawing together all my courage and then... mentally regroup and plunge.  It's always worth it!  So easy to hesitate though and worry for just a minute. 


 But then... when you let go and jump, it's that blissful moment of freedom and joy. She came up smiling. 
 Now, before I go... my mama's chicken salad.  It is THE perfect summer salad to serve.  You can use leftover chicken, or rotisserie or whatever you've got.  It takes five minutes to whip up and you can serve it on lettuce, on a croissant if you're not opposed to those, or in a sandwich.  There is really no recipe but you'll want about 3-4 cups chopped cooked chicken, a small sweet onion chopped, and a bag of dried cranberries.  Then, just stir in some mayo, enough to make it wet, and salt and pepper to taste.  It's the best.

Happy Weekend all... may you have courage and chicken salad!
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